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volume 8                May 1997                  number 4
 California & Nevada
�  Potpourri 
�  Campground Report
�  Good Places to Eat
�  Coffee Break
�  Letters, Letters, Letters
�  This' N That
�  Jojoba Hills SKP park
�  Mark's Thai Pasta & Chicken
Our next issue will highlight our visit to Grand Junction & Denver, Colorado, plus a special birthday party.

The New York, New York casino in LV ---U.S. Highway 50 through Nevada.

Las Vegas, Nevada, is one big playground and it�s no longer just for adults. It is also growing faster than one can imagine. I promise that unless you were there just recently, things have sprouted up out of that fabled desert. Since our visit two years ago, we counted a half dozen new casinos and many changes in the old ones. In our week in town, we concentrated on what was new.

It is hard not to notice the newest big attraction---New York-New York. My mouth dropped open when I first saw it. It looks like New York. Of course everything is scaled down, but it works beautifully---everything from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge. Inside there�s entertainment for the whole family. As in many of the newer casinos, there is a big arcade area for the kids. But would you believe there is also a roller coaster called the Manhattan Express, which twists, loops and dives around the resort�s perimeter? It features the first-ever heart line roll; similar to the sensation felt by a pilot during a barrel roll in an airplane. It sounds like Coney Island, and inside at the lower level it looks, feels and sounds like the streets of New York. In fact the rumble of the roller coaster reminded me of the "El" (elevator train in Brooklyn). The facade was so complete that I had to keep pinching myself to remember where I was.

The front of NY, NY looking down the strip.

You will find many eateries which are typical of ones you�d find on the streets in New York, and I swear the help even talked like New Yorkers or was it part of the act? They tried to be a little curt too to complete the act. I enjoyed a Philly cheese and Ron had bratwurst with sauerkraut. Both were exceptional. We sat at patio tables "on the street" and looked up at the balconies of pseudo apartments over stores all around us. There were pots of flowers on some window sills and music coming from another, etc. There was even graffiti on the corner mailbox.

When we were in Vegas last time, I remembered seeing the construction of what looked like a space needle midway down the strip. What it turned out to be is Stratosphere---a hotel, casino and new playground. The tower which is visible from a long way off is the tallest free standing tower in America at 1, 149 feet, and right on top are two of the highest thrill rides, an observation tower and the rotating Top of the World Restaurant. We went up to the observation tower; I was chicken to try either of the rides. Just looking up to watch others made me dizzy. It was scary enough at the height of the outdoor observation level, but about two floors up was the level where one boarded either of the two thrill rides. The roller coaster looked tame; it just went in circles around the top. But the free fall ride looked awesome. An octagon ring that slides up the spire holds 32 riders. The riders sit face out in a bench type seat. When the ride starts the ring rises to the top fast then falls just as fast back to near the starting point, then it goes up and down again (not as high the second time) and so on until it is eased back down to the beginning point. Listening to the screams was enough to scare me away, but secretly I wanted to go.

Free fall at Stratosphere --- Stratosphere casino
We visited Rio (as in Rio de Janeiro) mainly to try out what someone had said was the best buffet in Vegas. The Carnival World Buffet was $8.99 for all you care to eat, but was different than most Vegas buffets in that besides the traditional (American) line, there were about 10 specialty restaurant stations from around the world such as Japanese, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Greek, and Western (ribs and such) etc. There was also a special salad bar which included every variety of salad imaginable. And the dessert bar had everything from torts and éclairs to baklava and Jell-O. There must have been a dozen varieties of pies and at least that many different cakes. There was a whole sugar-free section with just as large a selection. It was a great experience, but once was enough.

At Rio there is an aerial carnival (like Mardi Gras) parade several times during the day and night and it was fun to watch. The floats run on a track on the ceiling. It was very elaborate and lively!

Monte Carlo is a new casino and its decor is much like Caesar�s Palace. There is a lot of marble and statuary. I like seeing what each designer does and how the help is dressed to keep the theme.

If you have ever been to Vegas, you have undoubtedly checked out the downtown area. There�s lots new there too. The Golden Nugget has been beautifully remodeled. But the highlight of visiting downtown in the evening is a laser light show which is outstanding. Freemont street has been covered with an arch of some sort of mesh type material which seems to unify the street and provide shade during the day and at night it is the screen for the show.

Of course there�s lots of entertainment in Las Vegas, but did you know that much of it is free (except for what you lose in the machines)? New York-New York had a great piano duo at one of the city restaurants, and at one of the side bars, which was really right out in the open, was a terrific singer by the name of Ric Sonata. I am not sure if that is really his given name; he looked and sounded just like a young Frank Sinatra, and in fact only sang songs that Frank made popular. Somehow, listening to him while I was losing money, made the loss less painful. At Roxie�s Diner at Stratosphere we were entertained by the servers who could have walked right out of my yearbook. They took turns with the microphone and sang the songs we remember from the 50's. And they were good. At one point the whole crew was singing; some were up on the divider between the booths and another was doing a good job with a hula hoop.

Hula hoop gal at Roxie's Diner
Leaving Vegas
Chico, California, which is north of Sacramento, was our next destination (for the Escapade). In our Atlas we highlight the roads we have traveled since full-timing so it was easy to see that we had never traveled U.S. 95 northwest from Vegas to Reno. We thought that there was no better time than now. We were just barely out of Vegas when we were in the desert. All we could see were hard looking brown hills. There were no trees, just tufts of brownish-grey, wiry plants here and there. Except for a small area near Indian Springs which boasted an air force base, the only houses we saw were weatherworn shacks; often there were junk cars and other debris in the yard. Even Indian Springs and the very small air force base looked forlorn. "Oh, the poor souls who are stationed there," I thought. It was lonesome land with little signs of life. The road seemed to be one long ribbon of asphalt as far as one could see.

Since we didn�t get away from Vegas very early (Ron had made an appointment to get the oil changed in our motorhome) we didn�t get very far before we stopped for the night. The towns are so few and far between that we thought we had better take advantage of the fact that the town of Beatty had five or six campgrounds. Further up the road, Tonopah had only one listed in our campground directory; it didn�t sound good.

Beatty, which once upon a time was a boom town, now has 4-5 small casinos, donut shop, general store, bank, hardware, school, senior center, visitor center, two beauty shops, curio shop and a couple of motels and restaurants. Their claim to life is that they are at the eastern entrance to Death Valley. While we were walking the town, I noticed a beauty shop; Ron & I both needed hair cuts and Tina wasn�t busy. She told me that she plans to close her shop when the mine closes in three or four years. I was curious about life in such a remote area. She says she goes to Vegas (125 miles one way) for shopping and to visit family every other week.

After our afternoon and evening in Beatty, we made the second leg of our trip to Reno. the scenery didn�t change much until we got to Hawthorn and Fallon. Brown changed to green. There were trees, and fertile farmlands. Then it was brown and barren again to Reno. We goofed when in Beatty we didn�t know that the very interesting ghost town (Rhyolite) was only a few miles away. We could have explored that easily the afternoon we were in town. Next time.

U. S. Route 50
Route 50 which was completed in 1930 runs east and west from San Francisco to New York for a distance of 3,143 miles. Years ago a Life Magazine reporter said that one needed survival skills to journey across Nevada from Fernley in the west to Ely in the east. He dubbed U.S. route 50 "The loneliest road in America," and that has stuck. We wanted to see if he was right and since we were heading east after the Escapade, we choose that route through Nevada. It looked a lot like the route we had recently traveled from Vegas to Reno and there were no houses, no billboards, no towns, just more of the same harsh looking desert. Scrubby bushes dotted the hard brown hills and ahead was that ribbon of asphalt only this time the backdrop was often snow covered mountains.

We made sure we had a full tank of fuel before we started and did not worry about finding a campground because after traveling from Vegas to Reno we realized that camping was allowed in Nevada�s rest areas. We even figured we could pull off the side of the road if necessary. We had 539 miles to go to meet our friends in Fillmore, Utah, and knew we would stop somewhere, but had no idea where.

We were 47 miles east of Fallon and were looking for a place to pull off for lunch when a sign announced that we were approaching Middlegate Station. It wasn�t on my map so it couldn�t be a town, but we didn�t know what to expect. It was a large parking lot on a corner of 50 and some other road and smack dab in the middle was a friendly looking building. Two signs (Bar & Food) indicated what we would find inside. Outside was a lonesome gas pump and a telephone in a little wooden building that at first looked like an out house. Other relics were artfully scattered about. Instead of eating our own sandwiches, we thought it might be more fun to see what they had to offer inside. We had a choice of sitting at the bar, at one of the two big round tables or outdoors. We choose one of the round tables. Carol Lynn took our order (see Good Places to Eat-pg3) and since they weren�t busy, I played reporter. Her Mom and Dad ( Russell & Fredda Stevenson) have owned the place for 11 years. She figured they have anywhere from 10 to 100 people stop in during a day; it is busiest in the summer. They have free camping, and host several big time events which are well attended. May 30th is the annual Jeeporee with about 100 attending. The big event is the Biker Bar-B-Que held the third weekend in September. They have over 300 show up for that. The cost is $10 for the whole weekend which includes a pig roast and dancing.

Ghosts a Plenty

After lunch we were off again. Yes it was lonely, but lonely doesn�t have to be bad. We had all the comforts of home, plenty of fuel, and there was hardly any traffic. The road was excellent, fairly straight and we joked that we could set it on cruise and go back and take a nap. Several times I saw a picture I wanted to capture; Ron stopped right in the road and waited while I jumped out to do my thing. It was easy to see if anyone was coming in plenty of time to get back and start down the road again. It was peaceful. There were no stop lights and no Mc Donald�s---just us and the hills in the desert. We agreed that we wouldn�t want to start out on that highway without good equipment and lots of fuel.

The first town east of Fallon was Austin. It would have been fun to explore what is left of this 1862 boom town. The population now is only about 300. But we drove on through only stopping to change drivers. I drove out of town and would you believe it became rather hairy immediately. We had crossed two passes which were easy ups and downs so we were surprised at this one. Tight curves and steep grades kept me alert, but it only lasted for a few miles then we were on easy street again.

We stopped for the night at Eureka. It boasts a population of over 1,200 and looked a little more alive until we started driving and walking around. Right in town as well as on the outskirts are many ghost houses. But we found a good place to eat (see pg 3) and camped for free at the rest area on the eastern edge of town. It didn�t matter that we were so close to the road; there was absolutely no traffic after dark.

Main Street Eureka, Nevada   --- One block off of main street in Eureka

It was easy to get going the next morning and we were on our way early. There were six mountain passes after Eureka and except for one which was steep and curvy, they were easy. Little Antelope Summit at 7,433 feet had a spectacular view and lots of wide flat areas for boondocking. We remarked that it would have been a wonderful place to stop for the night although we liked being able to wander the streets in Eureka.

The loneliness didn�t end when we reached the Utah border. Only two cars passed us while we stopped for lunch; we were well into Utah. The stillness was deafening. There was no wind, no animals, no birds, no outward signs of life. We will do that route again and take a week to do it next time. There are Pony Express stations to check out, plenty of ghosts, Sand Mountain, and lots of peace and quiet that we would like to experience again. Try it; you�ll like it. Just stock up on groceries and make sure your RV is in good repair. There were a couple of places to get gas, but they were expensive.

In spite of the proliferation of new casinos, Las Vegas is falling into my "been there, done that" category. Funny how luck (or lack of it) can change your perspective.

Today we biked 15 miles along the Colorado River on a wonderful bike path. The roller bladers are starting to outnumber the bikes, but it's great to see people out exercising---no matter what the method.

In the last month we have gone over the Donner Pass twice. Granddaughters Mary and Erika will remember reading with us about the Donner family's ill fated journey. We thought of their travels with wagon and oxen while we cruised over it effortlessly in our modern motorhome. We are blessed.

It's great to have a 150 gallon fuel tank with over a thousand mile range. We traveled a month in California and didn't have to buy fuel once.

The "loneliest road in America" (Highway 50 in Nevada and Utah) is lonely, but I liked it. It was one of my most enjoyable days of traveling. Serene, gorgeous horizons, no traffic, luxurious traveling, and my best friend by my side---what more could you want.

We have often said that our readers are our extended family. It sure seemed like family at the Escapee rally in Chico---lots of hugs and good conversation. It's fun to be with adventurous, caring, happy people.

We have been changing our clocks often as well as going back and forth between shorts and sweaters. Maybe we are traveling too fast.

(Please remember that this report was written many years ago and the campgrounds may or may not be in business or as they were.)

Would you believe that we dry camped for 12 nights this month. It's a good thing. After Las Vegas and Reno we were in the mood to save some money. Dry camping included 10 days at rallies, one night behind an RV service center and one night in a rest area on Highway 50 in Nevada.

Valencia Travel Village, West of I-5 on Highway 126, Valencia, CA. We have reported on this one before because it is near family and we stay here when in the area. Our cost was $20 a night, but it was worth it. Good hook-ups and great facilities including cable. It's close to Magic Mountain if you like roller coasters and very handy to Los Angeles (40 minutes) south on I-5. Sites are long, but narrow. Roads are all paved. It�s a well managed park.

Boomtown RV Park, 3333 Blue Diamond Rd (off I-15), Las Vegas, NV. Good sites and handy location to the strip. Price has gone up since we were there last and now is about $17 per day---some discounts are available. New owners are taking over, but expect no changes. If you want to be right on the strip, you might try Circus-Circus at about the same price range.

Burro Inn Casino & RV Park, US-95, Beatty, Nevada. Probably the only break that I got in Nevada. This friendly little park has good pull-throughs and is only $12 for a full hook-up. They have a good restaurant (walk past the slot machines). It is a good stopping point between Las Vegas and Reno.

Boomtown RV Park, Highway I-80, 7 miles west of Reno. This park is handy to Reno and only 4 exits from California. Unlike the Boomtown in Las Vegas it is not changing hands. Sites are in the $15 range. Hook-ups are good, but sites are narrow and not level. The location is handy and that's why we stay there when in the area.

Almond Tree Park, 3124 Esplanade, Chico, CA. It's small, it's new, it's expensive ($20 with G.S. discount), it's great. Almond Tree is a perfectly designed park with wonderful hook-ups and paved level pull-through sites. Friendly manager will make you feel welcome.

Wagon's West RV Park, 545 N. Main Street, Fillmore, UT. Right off of I-15 in Fillmore it's about 125 miles south of Salt Lake City and a great overnight stopping point. The well maintained park has big rig pull-throughs for about $15 (G.S. discount). Handy to stores and restaurants

(Remember that this report was written many years ago and the restaurants may or may not be in business or as they were.)

California and Nevada

Kamrai 18358 ½ Soledad Canyon Rd Canyon Country, California. This Thai restaurant is small but certainly serves very good Thai food. In fact it was voted #1 in town. Son Mark took us there as it is one of their favorite places and he ordered for us. We had several different dishes that we shared (like Chinese). Thai food is spicy and this place can make it as hot as you want which is probably hotter than most could eat. Spicy ranges are from 1-10 and most of what we had was a 3 or 4 and that was plenty hot and delicious too. Put this friendly place on your list if you are in this part of California.

Roxie�s Diner, Stratosphere Casino, The Strip, Las Vegas. We stopped in for lunch and loved it. The decor and the menu are straight out of the 50's. We ordered BLTs which were huge with lots of bacon. They came with french fries which were good and hot for $5.50. We also ordered a shake to share. It was big, thick, and delicious. But there is more. The servers entertain too. Read about it on page 4.

Middlegate Station, Route 50 west of Austin, Nevada. We stopped for lunch, and were the only ones at this oasis in the desert. The menu is small but if everything is as delicious as the big hamburg and hot french fries we had, it�s okay.

RJ�s, Route 50, Eureka, (west end of town) Nevada. For dinner we ordered a hot turkey sandwich ($4.25) because we didn�t want a big meal. Wrong! It was huge, fresh, delicious, and we couldn�t eat it all. The sandwich was served with "smashed" potatoes which had been partially mashed with the skins on and they were outstanding.

Take a break. Get a cup of coffee and let's chat.

Cheryl & Larry Frair new full-timers from Alaska wonder about making reservations. "When would one need to be checking out and making reservations for the summer in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin or the upper peninsula of Michigan?"

Barb answers. We never do and have never been out of luck. There are a lot of spaces up there and not that many go. It is never like Florida or Arizona in the winter. Besides we always pull off the road by 2 p.m., at the latest and figure if there is "no room at the inn" we still have time to find another or if all else fails there is always a Wal-Mart. I always like the flexibility of changing directions in a minute and if fully reserved... well you know what I mean.

Michel & Lorraine Gregoire from Gatineau, Quebec, in Canada have several questions. "Can�t wait to start full-timing in the year 2000. We�ll have to forego the motorhome (simply out of reach) and opt for a travel trailer. We have our eyes set on a 26' Sunnybrook. I want quality & lightweight; any suggestions from travel trailer full-timers? Rarely will we be spending more than a week at the same place! You gave forum to FTTA; where are they? Please forward address. Wouldn�t it be nice also to have an FTTA (Full-timers Travel Association)."

Barb helps. There aren�t a lot of full-timers traveling in travel trailers but hopefully someone will come forward. Most use 5th wheels (a form of travel trailer) or motorhomes. FTTA is the Family Travel Trailer Association which is a new fast growing association specifically for travel trailer owners. Call 1-800-603-1101 or write to them at P O Box 5867, Titusville, FL 32783. This new group is patterned after FMCA which is for motorhome owners. We hadn�t thought of FTTA also meaning Full-Timers Travel Association. There is no such thing, but as far as we are concerned the Escapees organization is very much geared to the full-time RVer.

Barb & Al Otozco of Fostoria, Ohio, are interested in fuel costs. "Could you please address fuel costs for gas vs. diesel. Our mini motor home gets 11 mpg; we are thinking of going to a larger diesel Class A. We�ve heard that you can get 20-24 MPG with a diesel. Our Ford Mini is 27 ½' and we are thinking of a 30 to 32' diesel."

Ron tackles this one. Our 39' diesel motorhome gets 9 to 10 mpg and that is considered good for that size. I have never heard of the higher figure that you mention except in diesel pick-ups when not pulling. It�s hard to justify the extra cost of a diesel solely for fuel savings. Our switch to diesel was primarily for additional carrying capacity on the heavier chassis.

Here are some different questions from Patricia & Ken Campbell of Lynwood, Washington. "You�ve mentioned you travel with a weather monitor. If you still do, what kind is it and do you find it helpful? Also, have been reading lots lately about water filter systems and the need to insure safe drinking water. Does your new RV (or past RV�s) have such a system; have you felt the need to add one; or do you treat your water regularly? Was wondering if you�ve experienced any problems water-wise in your travels."

Barb responds. Yes, we still use our weather monitor occasionally. Its name is Weatheralert, which is made by Realistic and sold in Radio Shack stores for about $10. We get it out when we are in tornado country or anytime we want an accurate forecast and can�t find a decent radio or TV station. Regarding water, we only use the filters which come with the RV. Since we are almost always in commercial campgrounds with good ratings, we trust the water. Using the water regularly as we do we don�t feel the need to treat it. Remember that someone is always selling something that we must have. Cautions about treating the fresh holding tank are primarily for those who let an RV sit all summer or winter. After eight years we have not had a problem�just rusty water once.

Plan to go in the Fall

Congratulations on your Dream---how wonderful to have a luxurious new home! But how will we ever train ourselves NOT to look for the Bounder? Wrote once several years ago after first purchasing your book (on our first trip to Camping World after buying our first used travel trailer). It was a glorious inspiration and we�ve been loyal newsletter subscribers ever since, living vicariously through your adventures until we could begin ourselves.

Well, Ken has convinced me we can do this now (or at least early fall). We�re in our early 50's and Ken draws 100% VA disability benefits. Have modest savings/investments, but we do both have health insurance. Also, we�re three weeks into a nicotine patch no smoking program which, besides being good for our health, will save us approx $1200/yr. Still crunching numbers but I believe come Sept., we�ll hitch up the 5th wheel (Nomad 29' with slide) to the Dodge Ram diesel and hit the road....

Regarding campground memberships---took your advice and purchased resale from local wholesaler we found listed in Highways magazine. Purchased membership in 4-star CCC park with RPI affiliation for $350. Haven�t seen the park as it�s in the South, but all our membership information came right away. Haven�t used either of these memberships yet, as we generally camp in state parks, but we expect to come this fall.

Just wanted you to know how valuable your advice has been to us in past years... Next time I write will be to change our address to Escapees mail service and to tell you we�re on our way!

Patricia & Ken Campbell
Lynwood, Washington

Enjoyed a month at the Voyager

We were so excited to read your last newsletter telling us that you are going to be at the Escapade in Chico. Finally, we�ll get a chance to meet since we�ve been signed up to go for months....

We are in Tucson, Arizona, at the Voyager RV Resort for the entire month of March and have had a wonderful time while here. There are many SKP�s and even some Boomers. It is so nice to slow down and stop in one place for a change, it was just what the doctor ordered for the homesick blues that catch up to me now and then. You are absolutely right---slow down and smell the flowers. Why are we in such a hurry anyway? Especially during the winter months when the weather makes it hard to travel. One woman told me that she feels like she�s part of the circus---she pulls up stakes every week or two and moves to another town!...

We�ve been wanting to make some interior changes in our motorhome and decided to get some estimates while here in Tucson. Much to our surprise, we found a new cabinet making business that could go to work immediately and drew up a plan and gave us an estimate overnight. We were impressed with their work and gave them the go-ahead. So, after only two weeks we had them take our dinning table out and install a new cabinet with an overhang of ten inches to be used as an eating counter when we want. There are three large cupboards with pull-out shelves. Finally, a place to put large items like my bread machine and crock pot.... They did a great job of matching our cabinets with paneled doors and oak stain....

Sherry & Sandy Harper
Full-timers from San Rafael California

Editor�s note We saw their new table and it is wonderful; what a unique idea! It just proves that you don�t have to keep things just as they are---remodel to suit yourself.

On our way

We�re on our way to full-timing! House, car & motorcycle are for sale! Jobs to be resigned from this week. Ducks in a row! You keep us on track and we�re very excited to join you and everyone we read about in Movin� On. Thanks for the inspiration.

Barbara Bickford & Jim Ransehousen
Sweedsboro, New Jersey

Loved the convection cooking class

...We are enjoying retirement---almost two years now. I guess we are "part-timers" as we now winter in our mobile home in Happy Trails in Surprise, AZ, and then travel 6 mos in our Discovery motorhome. We are still SKP�s and still have Livingston, TX, address, etc., and think of ourselves as full-timers. What a wonderful time of our lives; we are having a ball!

We went to the FMCA Rally too (was our first). I loved the micro/convection seminar too. (I went twice!) Bob learned lots at the technical seminars.

We�ll be leaving Arizona in May and traveling up north to home state of Minnesota. We�ll be going slowly to give MN a chance to thaw out and dry up a bit! Read your AZ newspaper column on what RVers do when it rains. Enjoyed it!

Winnie & Bob Velner
Burnsville, Minnesota

Wishing our life away?

...I guess we�re wishing and dreaming our life away, but we can�t wait till we can start full-timing. We loved your book; it�s about worn out. There are so many good ideas!! We also love Movin� On. Wished we had known you were at the I-30 RV park here in Benton. We were only 3 miles from you. Hope we can meet someday....

Tommy & Joyce Baker
Benton, Arkansas

Decided against licensing in Oregon

...I read your book several times in the years we were preparing to go full-time. We sold our house in West Covina, California, in August of last year. ...Retired at age 55 after 22 years with the Auto Club of Southern California.... We intended to have our vehicles registered in Oregon. After reading some of the articles in your newsletters and after attending a seminar on full-timing the Petersons gave at the Los Angeles County RV show in October, 1996, we decided to become SKPs and change our forwarding address. We did not want to sign an affidavit stating we would be living in Oregon for six months of each year. We went to Livingston in January (California tags were due on the truck) and registered the truck and fifth wheel. We were disappointed that the vehicle insurance was as high in Texas as it was in California and that a home owners type policy was not available for full-timers registered in Texas. We still have the mail forwarding in Oregon and an address in California. We maintain the California address for our HMO coverage. Hope to get that straightened out this year.

We are in a TTN campground in Sun City, CA, (Wilderness Lakes) until tomorrow and then we go to our home park in the Coast to Coast system for two weeks. I don�t recall you mentioning the Thousand Trails system in your list of memberships but sure is a good group of people, both staff and members.

Duane & Jan DuVall
Full-timers from W. Covina, California

Found the budget most helpful

Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed your book and how helpful it was.... Your book enabled us to say, "Yes, let�s do it!" I found your budget most helpful with the ranges in spending listed. Also, your approach to almost all aspects of decisions that have to be made to join this lifestyle.

Since we did not find the 5th wheel we wanted at the price we wanted, we decided to go much smaller for now with a pick up slide-in with bath etc. We will continue to look with plans to use the slide-in for our Alaska trip in 1998. Hopefully, we can let you know in the future that this was a good decision for us and how realistic our budget turned out to be. We are still going to sell our home and store very limited things (not furniture) at our son�s home.

Planning the last six months has been an adventure and hopefully, the rest of the years will also be viewed as such.... Thought you might like to hear our early preparations and how your book influenced us. Thank you.

JoAnn & E.F. Wade
Union, Missouri

Wants info from female travelers

I enjoy your newsletter very much. As a personal issue to me, I would enjoy reading more about female travelers. Occasionally, you will print a letter from a lone female but not very often.

Deannie Benge
The Colony, Texas

Neighbors helped

Last summer at our seasonal RV park, my husband, Pat, and I were fortunate enough to have as next door neighbors, a terrific couple, Henry and Sherry Nott of Watertown, NY. We discovered to our mutual delight that we were all making plans to embrace the "alternative lifestyle" and it was through them that we were introduced to your wonderful book and the Movin� On newsletter.

About two years ago, the idea of living and traveling full-time started to germinate, after an extremely short and hurried trip through several states and national parks. We wished we could see everything we wanted to at a more leisurely pace, and at the same time not have to spend so much money on hotels, motels, restaurants, rental cars, airfare, etc. And yet, we thought, this must be too crazy of an idea to even think about! How could we sell our home, our furniture, our collections and our stuff!

Well, here we are six months to go and counting. Retirement is planned for September 30, 1997. Most of our furniture is sold, the major garage sales have been done, the sale of the house is almost complete, the heart-wrenching decisions about possessions have been made and dealt with. The kids think we�re a little crazy and kind of cool, our friends and other family members think we�re a lot crazy... and yet, we detect a wistful look in their eyes. And more than a few have admitted they wished they had our nerve.

We will be living in our 1995 Westport 34 foot 5th wheel, which we�ll pull with a 1997 Dodge Ram V-10 pickup. We purchased the trailer and had it parked at a seasonal RV park on Lake Ontario all last summer, just to get used to living in it. It was the first time in 20 years that my husband and I had to share a bathroom! We figured if we could pass that test, all would be okay. We love the Westport and are glad we had a season in it to "iron out the bugs" every new home has at first. Our dealer, The Great Outdoors in Fulton, NY, has been great about service.

We joined SKP�s and have our mail forwarding address in place, and will probably use their voice message service. We�re gathering information on membership campgrounds, and read everything we can get our hands on regarding full-timing. Your book and the newsletter might as well be printed on yellow paper, for all the highlighting we do!

Two years ago, we decided we owed it to ourselves to learn all we could about this lifestyle before we made any major purchases or irrevocable decisions. It�s taken two-plus years, but we�re comfortable with the progress we�ve made toward our goal.

We chose to retire in September for several reasons. We didn�t want to start our traveling days when roads, parks and campgrounds are crowded.... Can�t wait to meet up with you both on the road someday. Thank you for your inspiration and information.

Carol & Pat Goodfellow
Syracuse, New York

RV related WEB sites

Since you have had some inquiries regarding the internet, we are sending you some web sites which we have recently discovered....


Ken & Pamela Ward
Lakeland, Florida
Editor's note 2005- She had listed a dozen web sites but all but the two above were no longer working.

by Barb
Ron said it first, but I will echo his comment. It was great to meet so many of you at the Escapade. Our readers are very special and I�d like to take a moment to thank all of you for your friendship and support. I hope we can all meet person to person some day.

I did not write about the Escapade; I ran out of space. But it was every bit as good as the fall one we wrote about last September. There were lots of good seminars. Our seminar on full-timing was presented to a very attentive full-house in a large room. It was fun.

Movin' On readers who attended our happy hour at the Chico Escapade.
So many have asked when our revised book will be ready. I know I announced that we were going to do it; we tried and it was just too difficult. So we have decided that we will write a new book. It will carry on where the first left off; the other will stay on the market too. We have so much to share and do not have the room to do that kind of writing in our newsletter. That is probably why we like doing our weekly articles for the Arizona Republic. We update the present book each year when we print a new supply so that facts and figures are current. The new book should be ready by next spring if we settle in and do some serious work this winter when we are sitting still.

I have this wild idea to also print a small pamphlet like cook book. It would have all of the recipes that have appeared in Movin� On over the eight years.

We saw the most fantastic, compact, computer yet when we were browsing in Office Depot. It was a Compaq brand and total size was no bigger than a standard 13" monitor. The power unit was built into the back of the monitor. It would work just fine in most motorhomes. The screen was a bit smaller than 13", but wait until you hear what it had. 3. some mg of hard drive, 24 RAM, four slot CD, and on and on. The price was in the $2,000 range. I�d buy it if I needed a new computer now.

The night we dry camped outside of Eureka, I really gave our inverter a workout. We ran the computer, watched TV, had lights on, ran the furnace and pump, used the microwave/convection oven for quite a while, and in the morning we made coffee and used the toaster. The battery was only down one quarter after all that. I love our inverter because I hate generator noise. Now I know we can do lots of national park dry camping and never turn on that noisy generator.

While we were on U.S. 50 and clearly out in the middle of nowhere, a UPS truck passed us. I wondered (and still do) where he was going.

We found some strange graffiti in the desert. On 50 west of Middlegate, for about a mile long stretch of road, kids had spelled out their names in dark colored stones. There were so many that I wondered if some school bus on an outing hadn�t stopped for lunch and the kids had fun. It is the harmless kind of graffiti and was cute.

We had some warranty work done on the motorhome at Acacia RV in Colton, California, and while they were very nice and did fix the air conditioner (they replaced our original), they didn�t pay attention to us when I showed them an article describing the solution to our carbon monoxide detector problem. It goes off when ever the water heater is on unless I physically remove it from the wall and put a towel in the hole. They insisted my detector was defective and replaced it instead of insulating around the water heater. The next morning, when we were miles away, the detector screamed at me again. I had just lathered up in the shower and Ron had gone to get the mail. We have other warranty work to be done and decided that we will make the trip to the factory in Decatur, Indiana, on our way to Michigan.

Tentatively we have decided that when we leave Michigan we are going west through North & South Dakota on our way to our winter nesting place which this year will be in Mesa, Arizona. We have tried this trip many times. This time we really hope to be able to take our time and explore this area which we have not been to before.

Aguana, California, (pronounced a-wan-ga) is the home of what we think is one of the nicest Escapee co-op parks in their system. The Escapees have five rainbow parks and 11 co-ops and all have been built or are being built by the Escapee members themselves. We have been in several which are very nice, but we think Jojoba (ho-ho-ba) is tops.
The lovely SKP resort in Aguana
Located in southern California not far from Palm Springs or San Diego, and situated overlooking hills and valleys, it is beautiful. As Escapee members we are privileged to visit any of the SKP parks and camp for a nominal fee (cheaper than equivalent campgrounds). They are not open to the general public. And if you need a plot of ground to call your own, they have lots for sale although there is usually a waiting list.

We were amazed when we viewed the building history (on display in the club house) of this park. They started with a run down campground which had been inhabited by hippies who had to be forced out and who vandalized the buildings and grounds before leaving. The SKPs who built the park bought used (and often broken) earth moving equipment (cheap), fixed it up, then began work. Seven years later they were finished.

There is a huge clubhouse with craft and sewing rooms, laundry, a well stocked library, kitchen and offices. There is also a beautiful swimming pool, two hot tubs, saunas, wood shop, and the architecture is exquisite. Their ingenuity amazed me. The lamp posts which once graced Long Beach had been discarded. SKPs cleaned them up and had beautiful poles for a song. The flag pole was once a mast on a sailing ship. They also have their own telephone company.

The grounds are beautiful. When we were there we noticed a profusion of wild flowers on each hill. In the beginning, before all the bulldozing began, several carefully dug up all the wildflowers and kept them safe for replanting when the work was done. The Rocketts is a name affectionately given to the women who reinforced drainage areas by cementing rocks together on their hands and knees.

Because CA route 79 is a busy road, and it had been difficult to make a left turn into the park, the Jojoba SKPs appealed to Caltrans to put in a left turn lane. They declined; no money. So the SKPs asked if they could do the work.

Caltrans gave the okay and these folks---using their own money and equipment widened the road. They even had to replace the existing two lanes and the culvert which was impacted. Can you imagine a bunch of retirees as flaggers and hard laborers? They did it and did a super job. Visiting this place made me awfully proud to be a member of the Escapees organization. Do yourself a favor and spend a few days at the resort.

Mark's Thai Pasta & Chicken  recipe first debuted in this issue. I have linked it to the 
recipe section where all of our newsletter recipes are posted.
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